At the root of the conflict between Iran and its Arab neighbours lies the Shia-Sunni divide, as the patrons of the two Muslim sects, Tehran and Riyadh respectively, are both prepared to promote and support their sectarian beliefs. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain can be viewed in this light. Yet it is also the result of an ordinary struggle between two regional powers.
Results for Tag: Bahrain
Today, Shiites are divided into numerous sects, the largest being Twelver Shiism. Shiites make up the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan; and they constitute significant minorities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania.
“The human rights situation is the worst it has been in the country’s modern history,” Khalid Ibrahim, director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, told Fanack. “There is no one to speak up, no space for civil society. Most of the prominent human rights defenders are in jail, sometimes tortured, have fled the country or are banned from leaving it if they work with the international community.”
At 3am on 15 January 2017, Bahrain executed by firing squad Ali al-Singace, 21, Abbas al-Samea, 27, and Sami Mushaima, 42, for killing three police officers in a 2014 bomb attack. The executions sparked local outrage. Dozens of protestors clashed with police, blocking roads with burning tires, hurling firebombs and gasoline bombs. Security forces dispersed the protestors with tear gas and wounded several by firing buckshot.
Kuwait has a relatively open media environment in comparison to its Gulf neighbours, and is ranked highest of all the Gulf states in the Reporters Without Borders 2016 World Press Freedom Index. However, its ranking of 103 (out of 179) indicates that Kuwaiti journalists face restrictions on their reporting and that negative portrayals of certain subjects, such as Islam or the ruling family, remain off-limits.
A court in Bahrain dissolved the main Shia opposition party al-Wefaq in July 2016. The problem is a straightforward one: the opposition wants more democracy and all that comes with it, such as a constitutional monarchy, transparency, inclusiveness, equality and justice. The government, which is essentially an extension of the royal family, does not.
Ali Salman the popular dissident, Shiite cleric, and secretary general of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, the main opposition group in Bahrain, was arrested after a series of speeches he delivered calling for political reform and accountability. It was by no means the first time Sheikh Salman had been imprisoned. After a long career in demanding political reform and human rights for the Bahraini people, Salman was jailed between 1993 and 1994, and was banished from the country in 1995.